Our arrangements this morning were rather surprising – meet Warrington 8am! The reason for this sudden outburst of energy, was that we had decided to make a foray into Wales, and for this an early start is essential. I had my doubts whether I should be able to get out of bed to time, and was genuinely surprised when I awoke at 4.45am. It was quite dark outside, but whilst I was busy over breakfast, dawn broke, and when I started at 6am it was quite light. Very few people were about when I made my way via Four Lane Ends to Atherton and Leigh. The morning was grey, except for a tint of red in the east, and that is a poor sign. Indeed, some rain fell near Winwick, but it came to nothing. I was in Warrington at 7.30am, and joining the Chester road, I pottered along for two miles to the meeting place. Just on 8am Tom came up, and soon we were off.
Climbing through Daresbury it started to rain, and getting our capes out, we proceeded on the greasy road through Preston Brook to Sutton Weaver and Frodsham. Like us, the rain continued, but with increased velocity until we were nicely wet. Coming to Mickle Trafford we decided to have our first lunch. A cosy room and warm fire greeted us, and whilst we were studying the catalogues of the latest speed machines, our early lunch was being prepared. At 10.30 we were on the road again – less the rain, for a strong breeze had sprung up, which continually tried to hold us back. Before 11am we had passed through Chester, and were making some decent headway on the Wrexham road through Pulford to Rossett.
Here we turned off for Mold – we were in Denbighshire now – and soon the hills came into being. A stiff incline brought us off the machines, and when we reached the War Memorial near the top, we turned and got a wonderful view of the plains of Cheshire. Coming to Cefn-y-Bedd, we got a glimpse of Caergwrle Castle on the summit of a low hill. Turning left sharply, we ran into a low vale, then started ascending steeply. Some blackberry bushes along the roadside tempted us to taste, and giving way, we spent half an hour in picking, (and eating), some large and juicy berries. At last we were filled, and so we gave it up. For a mile or so we continued along this secondary road (walking), then, coming to a little bylane, we took it, dipping down precipitously. At the bottom is a very awkward bend over a tumbledown bridge. This vale – Nant-y-Ffrith, is never visited by motors, and is very pretty.
Ascending again up the Nant-y-Ffrith pass, we had a couple of miles tramping to Bwlchgwyn, a pass and a village over 1,000ft high. From here we got a very extensive view of the Cheshire plains, including even the Wrekin in Shropshire, the Dee Estuary, Chester, Liverpool and the Mersey. Now we had a doughty struggle, for one and a half miles, until we gained the shelter of the hills. Another three miles and we were halting at the famous, ‘Wayfarer’ frequented and immortalised, Crown Hotel, Llandegla. We had a terrific lunch, leaving at 3pm, after, for the second time, signing the visitor’s book.
Taking the Mold road we got to the top of the heathery moorlands from where we gained another grand view of the mountains, with the mists breaking over the higher peaks. We spent half an hour aiming at whisky bottles. With the wind now behind us and the gradient in favour we made amazing progress to Treuddyn, across the Vale of Alyn to Hope and Pen-y-Fford. On an undulating road through Penymynydd we swept, until we joined the Chester-Holywell road just near Hawarden, then a weary five miles and we were in Chester again.
It did not take us long to get to Mickle Trafford again for tea, and soon we were seated in the same room. We shifted an immense tea by candlelight, and when we restarted we had to go easy to work the effects off. We had our oil lamps lit, and we had to go very carefully at first, on account of the immense motor headlights, which glared and dazzled and threw us into a maze. Frodsham, Sutton Weaver, Daresbury, passed by, and then we took the road through Latchford to Lymm. Then Warburton, and those bumpy bylanes through Partington. We nearly got into a mix-up in Flixton, but all came out right, and we reached Barton Bridge at 9.15pm. Here we divided, I coming home via Worsley, Walkden and Moses Gate, reaching home at 10pm.
120 miles, 16 hours